No One Gets Out Alive falls flat on its face from the very start as it tries to present itself as this arthouse-style movie that exemplifies the hardships of immigrants with a twist of horror. It’s not as if the fear of deportation, not being able to take care of yourself and your family, and surviving in an unknown place isn’t fear enough. No, let’s twist things about and use someone’s vulnerability while appropriating their culture.
Mesoamerican culture is rich with history and a knowledge that we don’t talk about enough or see in the media we consume. So entering into No One Gets Out Alive and knowing that it had this element of it all, I was intrigued and ready to get some real horror that isn’t bland as unsalted rice and that delves into the roots of Latin America and the communities who have lived in those lands for ages upon ages.
And I was a fool.
No One Gets Out Alive is basically a movie about white people who steal a box they found in Mesoamerica. A box that was in a deep dark hole that no one in their right mind would open. They stole the box, hid it away, and then started performing the rituals connected to that box as a means of surviving, thriving, and healing themselves from the ailments that plagued them. Talk about cultural appropriation of the highest order and the caucasity of it all.
And then that man, that ends up kidnapping the lead Ambar (Cristina Rodlo) and keeping her in the house we see in the trailer, thinks she should be honored to be killed by this God that they feed in their basement. Excuse me? Are you hearing yourself? You’re preying on vulnerable communities. You, whose ancestors came to these lands and murdered, raped, and pillaged to their heart’s content and as a means of taming the savages who needed to be taught the virtues of Christianity. You are telling Ambar, a Latina whose people lived and breathed these lands way before you, to be honored?
Piss off, random dude preying on immigrants who need help and instead are fed to an ancient being the movie never delves into or makes us understand. And shame on the people that thought this story was a good idea in the first place. It exploits our communities and our people for a quick scare without having any actual substance about the hardships that these people have been going through and the culture they were born from. Basically, I’m tired of the bullshit. I’m tired of our communities being used when it’s advantageous and forgotten when we’re not.
This is not horror. This is playing with a concept, thinking you’re onto something, and then spectacularly blowing it while murdering immigrants (who were mainly women) and then thinking this is the message or kind of movie we need in 2021. It’s not. And it never will be. That’s not to say that Latinx people don’t want horror. We do. But we want nuance, we want character, and we want something that understands our legends and doesn’t just give us the same old story of white people abusing and exploiting those they think “don’t belong” or that no one will miss.
No One Gets Out Alive is available on Netflix and if I were you, I’d pass on it.